PhD position Resilience gains of nature-inspired water systems.

Updated: 3 months ago
Deadline: ;

Are you interested in hydrology and landscape structures, and keen to develop nature-inspired water systems to improve the resilience of the Dutch sand landscape. Please apply at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.

FTE: 0.8 - 1

Job description

This position is part of the

RESHAPE project

, a new 5-year NWO-funded interdisciplinary research program that aims to develop change-pathways to increase the resilience of Dutch sand landscapes in face of ongoing climate change. The water system of sand landscapes goes far beyond the visible ditches and rivers. It is especially the invisible water flows through subsurface and plants that we can improve. Moreover, in a resilient sand landscape, the spatial networks of water, economy, society and governance are strongly intertwined. Within RESHAPE we study how to stimulate these spatial dependencies to catalyze a change towards a future-proof sand landscape. 

As part of RESHAPE you will (i) study a gradient of landscapes using a global dataset from which we will derive nature-inspired landscape design principles at river- basin scale, (ii) use hydrological models to analyze and quantify resilience gains and trade-offs of these nature-inspired landscapes, and (iii) identify the most effective hydrological strategies to improve resilience of Dutch sand landscapes.

Your duties

  • present your research on scientific conferences and publish your results in scientific literature
  • contributing to teaching and supervising bachelor and master students

  • an MSc degree in hydrology, landscape or physical geography, earth science, environmental science or equivalent
  • affinity and preferably experience in hydrological modeling and/or data analyses
  • experience with programming languages such as R or Python 
  • interested in doing cutting-edge policy-relevant scientific research
  • able to work independently, but also within the interdisciplinary project team
  • excellent writing and verbal communication skills in English

What are we offering?

A challenging position in a socially involved organization. The salary will be in accordance with university regulations for academic personnel and amounts €2,541 (PhD) per month during the first year and increases to €3,539 (PhD) per month during the fourth year, based on a full-time employment. The job profile: is based on the university job ranking system and is vacant for at least 0.8 FTE.

The appointment will initially be for 1 year. After a satisfactory evaluation of the initial appointment, the contract will be extended for a duration of 4 years.
Additionally, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam offers excellent fringe benefits and various schemes and regulations to promote a good work/life balance, such as:

  • a maximum of 41 days of annual leave based on full-time employment,
  • 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus,
  • solid pension scheme (ABP),
  • optional model for designing a personalized benefits package

About Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

The ambition of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is clear: to contribute to a better world through outstanding education and ground-breaking research. We strive to be a university where personal development and commitment to society play a leading role. A university where people from different disciplines and backgrounds collaborate to achieve innovations and to generate new knowledge. Our teaching and research encompass the entire spectrum of academic endeavor – from the humanities, the social sciences and the natural sciences through to the life sciences and the medical sciences.

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is home to more than 31,000 students. We employ over 5,000 individuals. The VU campus is easily accessible and located in the heart of Amsterdam’s Zuidas district, a truly inspiring environment for teaching and research.

We are an inclusive university community. Diversity is one of our most important values. We believe that engaging in international activities and welcoming students and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the quality of our education and research. We are always looking for people who can enrich our world with their own unique perspectives and experiences.

The Faculty of Science
Working at the Faculty of Science means working together with students, PhD candidates and scientists who are focused on their discipline, yet also have a broad view of the world. We are proud of the collegial working environment within the faculty, which is characterised by an ambitious and pragmatic attitude with commitment to the bigger picture. At the Faculty of Science, scientists and students work on fundamental and complex social issues for a sustainable and healthy future. From forest fires to big data, from obesity to malnutrition, from genetics to pharmaceuticals and from molecules to the moon: our teaching and research cover the full breadth of the natural sciences. Scientific teaching and research is highly experimental, technical, computational and interdisciplinary in nature. This is why we collaborate extensively with leading research institutes and industry. The faculty has over 11,000 students studying across 40 educational programmes and employs over 1,600 staff spread over 10 scientific departments, making us the largest science faculty in the Netherlands.

About the department, institute, project
The department of Earth Sciences (VU-ES) and the Institute for environmental studies (VU-IVM) study all aspects of the dynamics of the Earth with an integrated approach to quantify the interplay and feedback mechanisms between the interior, surface and atmosphere of the Earth and how these processes lead to risks and opportunities for society, the economy, and the environment. A defining characteristic in our research and teaching is a multi-disciplinary approach that combines expertise from natural sciences with knowledge from the fields of economics, e-Science and geography.

This position will be supervised by Wouter Berghuijs (VU-ES), Stefanie Lutz (Utrecht University), Dimmie Hendriks (Deltares), Anne van Loon (VU-IVM) and Ype van der Velde (VU-ES). A substantial part of the project will be carried out at the knowledge institute Deltares. Moreover, the PhD candidate will be embedded in the RESHAPE Academy, a trans-disciplinary innovation lab in which co-creation, validation and dissemination of the project’s results will take place. All PhDs will contribute to making this a vibrant and impactful community.


Are you interested in this position? Please apply via the application button and upload your curriculum vitae and cover letter until


. The job interviews are planned for the first week of October.

Submitting a diploma and a reference check are part of the application process.

Applications received by e-mail will not be processed.

Vacancy questions
If you have any questions regarding this vacancy, you may contact:

Name: Ype van der Velde or Wouter Berghuijs

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